Named for its origins in the east, the Asian handicap can be summed up in the simplest of terms as the practice of point spread betting in soccer matches. Although this betting model has been used in hockey for years, it is relatively new to soccer. It has gained considerable popularity largely due to the fact that it has an increased probability for winning, in contrast to traditional wagering practices such as 1X2. Bookmakers always offer higher odds on Asian handicap, routinely paying out at rates between 97-99%, as compared to traditional betting where the payout ranges normally between 89-94%.
Where the Asian handicap matrix differs from traditional fixed odds betting is that it eliminates a tie from the equation, using a handicap to force a winner, thereby reducing the maximum number of possible outcomes from three to two. This format offers two betting scenarios that each offer a 50% chance of winning, making it similar to the odds you would expect from a baseball or basketball game, games in which a tie is an impossibility.
The system in its application is simple enough. The bookies designate a handicap or «line» for the weakest team in the match in order to bring the odds for each team as close as possible to dead even. The parameters of designating Asian handicap lines begin at 0 and go as high as 3. The handicap is determined by the disparity in the odds each team has of winning the match. The principle of the system in this context can best be expressed with the following example.
You want to bet the Asian handicap on a match between Manchester United and Fulham. The handicap is 1.5 to Fulham and you take the points. For betting purposes this means that Fulham is essentially starting the game with a 1 1/2 goal lead over Manchester United. If the final score of the match is Manchester United 3-2 Fulham then you would win, as the final score with the handicap would be Manchester United 3-3.5 Fulham.
A vast majority of the matches that are handicapped using the Asian matrix are given lines in intervals of 1/4 and 1/2 points, both of which eliminate the possibility of a push as no team will ever win on the scoreboard by a fraction of a goal. With the fractional handicap, there is always a winner. Of course that means there is always a losing bet as well.
We have seen an example of the 1/2 point bet, now let’s look at the 1/4 point bet. The 1/4 bet performs a bit differently from the ½ bet in that it splits the difference between the nearest half point intervals and distributes half of your bet to each one. To see this in practical terms we can go back to our Manchester United vs. Fulham example.
In this example you have Fulham with 1 1/4 points and you are betting $500. With the fractional handicap of 1 1/4, you’re splitting your bet in this manner: $250 at 1 point and $250 at 1.5 points. Our final score was Manchester United 3-2 Fulham, which means that the bet tied ($250 at 1 with a final score of 3-3) and won ($250 at 1.5 with a final score of 3-3.5). In this example you would get back $750 from your original $500 bet. On the flip side of that equation, you can also tie and lose.
From our example if we place the same $500 bet with a line of 1 3/4 and give Manchester United another goal we would have an example of a tie and lose bet. The final score on the scoreboard is Manchester United 4-2 Fulham, making the line score Manchester United 4-3.75 Fulham. You would tie ($250 at 2 with a final score of 4-4) and lose ($250 at 1.5 with a final score of 4-3.5). In this example, you would lose half of your $500 bet and be refunded the other half.
Some Asian handicap bets will use whole numbers, which can result in a tie. However, the tie is administered as a push, meaning your full bet is refunded and there is no winner or loser.
Overall the Asian handicap is extremely attractive for the increased odds it offers and has a variety of betting options that will payout even money or better.
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